Last week I got a random message from an 18-year-old kid who had just been set apart for his LDS mission the night before. He has been following me on social media for some time and said he needed some advice. He has some serious doubts about the church but still thinks he wants to go on a mission cause, as of now, he is still a believer in the church.
He asked me three questions on the call and I wanted to share them with my answers so that anyone with similar questions could learn from them.
Question - "Would you still go on the mission if you were me, knowing I'm having doubts about the church?"
Answer - "Yes... Go serve and do it in a way so that even if you end up leaving the church later on, you'll still be glad you went. This is my current situation. I want nothing to do with the religion at this point, yet I am so glad I served my mission. You accomplish this by loving the people. Serve them and find the fulfillment not in any result that comes from your actions but just in the act of doing those things. You will never regret sharing love to another human."
Question - "What would you do differently if you could do your mission over again?"
Answer - "Nothing. Because I honestly couldn't do my mission better than I did. I gave it everything. That's why I still love and cherish my time as a missionary."
Question - "What advice do you have for me when I get home so I can become the best version of myself?"
Answer - "Get uncomfortable!!! Go live with random people, travel around the world, and get your hands dirty in different businesses. Try things that scare you. Many people will expect what you should do next, what your life is supposed to look like... Don't listen to them; listen to your heart."
What a tragedy it would have been if I had listened to those that thought they knew best for me. The gift of my life is that it is mine. I followed my heart and it has led me to this place that is so much more than I could have hoped for if I was trying to direct my path with what I was supposed to do."
I don't even know why I wrote this blog other than because I thought it would be good advice for other people in this kid's situation. I had two kids reach out last week asking for advice before their missions. One had already been set apart and the other with his calling. They don't always know where to turn, so I wanted them to know that I am available and will listen with no judgment or agenda as to whether or not you go out.
I learned so many incredible lessons on my mission and use them daily. It's not for everyone and I couldn't have ever done it without being a fully believing member at that time, so I don't think just everyone should go, but I can't think of another or a better way to replicate service and selfless love then the two years I spent as a missionary. I believe we must always honor the things that have served us in our lives, even when we no longer view them as we did in the past.